Active Adolescents with Heel Pain

There are 26 bones in the feet and they continue to grow until the mid to late teenage years. This means that until fully formed, there are delicate growth plates in the foot bones of a child and adolescent.

Sometimes there is inflammation surrounding the growth plate and this would be called an apophysitis. When it happens in the heel bone (the most common presentation in the foot), we call it Sever’s Disease.

Causes of Heel Pain

Typically, we see this occur in active females aged 8-10 and active males aged 10-13. The cause is believed to be repetitive trauma to the heel growth plate, which is already under stress from the pull of a strong ligament and an even stronger tendon, the Achilles. The repetitive trauma is usually due to high impact sports, such as basketball, football, rugby, long jump, gymnastics, dance and so on. It is also related to certain biomechanical foot types.

Our foot specialists will determine if the heel pain is in fact due to inflammation surrounding the growth plate or if further studies are needed, such as an x-ray to rule out other possible causes of pain.

Treatment for Heel Pain

Treatment is aimed at identifying the cause for the disease and offering a solution, as well as healing the growth plate and relieving pain. Our foot specialists will communicate a plan best suited to your child’s needs. It is best to seek professional treatment to avoid any long-term repercussions.



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